Weekly Project Journal
Each week of the project, student must submit a project journal entry. The journal entry consists of three parts:
1. Description. What happened in your project this week? What did you do? Experience?
This week in my project I helped a little six year old girl learn how to read a book, write a book report, and write words that rhyme with other words, it was all part of her homework assignment and we also worked on penmanship.
After that, I read the children two stories both quite the opposite of each other. One story essentially was about two African children chasing after lions on the Savannah and the other was about Antarctica and the North Pole. The first book was pure entertainment, but the kids did learn to associate Africa with lions and the Savannah. The second book however, was quite educational (Even I picked up a few things). It basically told the story of the ecosystem in these regions. The kids learned what krill are and how they get eaten by whales and seals and how Baleen whales have baleen which are sieve like structures where they are able to separate the water from their food I.E. the Krill and Seaweed. I think with this week I gained my first real teaching experience. This was the first time I was ever able to teach a child something of large impact.
2. Interpretation. What did you learn from your project this week? About the project? About the issue? About yourself?
One of the most astonishing things I learned this week is how truly intelligent six year olds can be. Their minds are almost like sponges, they remember everything a person tells them. There was one point at which I was teaching this six year old girl grammar and I thought what I was saying at the moment was a bit over her head, but I said it anyway just in case it might help and to my astonishment she comprehended what I was saying. The specific grammatical principle I was teaching her started with the differences between the three forms of there which moved towards a discussion on to the nature of contractions which she learned quite well. We then talked about conjunctions and why people only capitalize certain words in a book title. She took all this in quite well.
I learned that when it comes to immigrant marginalization, sometimes the most important thing is education. If people can channel immigrant children's thirst for knowledge and end up producing something meaningful, great things can happen. I have learned that education is probably the most practical way to help immigrants integrate into society. If the children of immigrants can get a college education and a well paying job in the future there will be nothing holding them back from supporting themselves and their families.
The primary thing I learned about myself is that I am not as bad a teacher as I thought.
3. Evaluation. How would you evaluate your work on the project this week? What grade would you give yourself? Are you accomplishing the objectives of the project? Your personal objectives?
I would evaluate my work positively this week: B+. I left my Wednesday night session with a real sense of accomplishment. I felt that I really helped someone that day.
It is so fulfilling to realize the impact that it is possible to have on children and every day that they learn a good habit is one day closer to a great future. Therefore as far as my personal objective goes, I am really happy to see these kids doing well and making progress.
As far as my project objective is concerned, that is going well too. I am learning a lot about the impact educational opportunities can have on the poor and the marginalized and about the degree to which education can curb marginalization.